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F: Archival material

Archival material

The research behind the 16-volume Collected Works of Florence Nightingale drew on a much greater volume of contemporary source material than could be quoted in the volumes themselves. PDF compliations of the bulk of this material are now available for download. In most cases these are plain-text transcripts — easily searchable within your PDF viewer or browser — taken from microfilm or paper copies of the original records.


The various files allow a researcher or curious person to find letters by and to Nightingale, her publications, and her comments on books and articles she used. The files are all digitized and are here available as PDF files. Use the search facility to track names, dates, and archive sources as needed.

1. Chronological files, split into 2, chrona up to 30 December 1874, chronb from 1875 on; for each date (day-month-year) items are listed, beginning with Nightingale’s own letters, indicated FN letter. Letters to her are listed next. Events and publications follow. Items give a brief description of the contents. The archive (or other sources) is given at the end of the entry.

  • all 5 digit items are British Library Additional Manuscripts, 45790 f201 (f indicates folio number, the equivalent of a page in a printed item)
  • all 4 digit items are Wellcome Trust items, e.g. 9000/30 (item 30 in Ms 9000; the Wellcome does not use folio numbers but numbers the letters). These are mainly copies of a Verney family collection at Claydon House, and are mainly family letters
  • archive names are otherwise indicated, e.g. Boston University; Bodleian, Columbia.
  • most of her letters were written at her home address; where not, the place is indicated, e.g., from Lea Hurst

Examples of chron entries:

16 09 1860 FN letter to Chadwick, 45770 f178
this indicates a letter by Nightingale to Edwin Chadwick, written on 16 September 1860, available at British Library Add Mss 45770 f178, which is in a combined BL file (BL06)
25 01 1875 letter from Lord Salisbury to FN re in acknowledgement that permission to forward FN’s letter has been granted 45779 f31
this indicates a letter to Nightingale, from Lord Salisbury, in British Library Add Mss 45779 f31, in a combined file BL07 04 03
1881 Lord Roberts to FN re helping Mrs Fellowes on nursing in Egypt, Columbia 018
this indicates a letter to Nightingale by Lord Roberts in a Columbia University collection, in USA1

Notes: for background on the names mentioned, Edwin Chadwick, Lord Roberts, Mrs Fellowes, see the names file; for other letters to, from or about them, search the chron files

2. Names file, a massive alphabetically listed file of names of correspondents (people she wrote and those who wrote her), plus names of people mentioned in correspondence, or books or articles noted. Anyone seeking further information on a correspondent or author noted in a chron file, or transcription file, can get further information here, dates of birth and death, positions, books authored, meetings with FN, with the archive in which the correspondence appears.

3. Transcription files. All Nightingale’s letters and printed works have been transcribed and are available as PDF files. Since there are so many archives and volumes of material, they have been combined, by country and major archive. The largest archive is the British Library (BL); the next largest collection is the Wellcome.

  • BL01GEN: Add Mss 28511, 39867 to 43395
  • BL02GEN: Add Mss 43396-45750
  • BL03JS: Add Mss 45751-58, correspondence with Dr John Sutherland and Mrs Sutherland
  • BL04DG1: Add Mss 45759-62, correspondence with Douglas Galton, Part 1 1857-66
  • BL05DG2: Add Mss 45763-67, correspondence with Douglas Galton, Part 2 1867-, and Marianne Galton 1865-9
  • BL06GEN: Add Mss 45768-45778
  • BL07GEN: Add Mss 45779-45785, Indian material
  • BL08GEN: Add Mss 45786-45790, nursing, hospitals and workhouse infirmaries
  • BL09GEN: Add Mss 45791-45797, family correspondence
  • BL10GEN: Add Mss 45798-45807, general correspondence, mainly to FN
  • BL11GEN: Add Mss 45809-45819, general correspondence, notes, drafts on hospitals and nursing
  • BL12GEN: Add Mss 45820-27, notes and drafts on hospitals
  • BL13SUGG: Add Mss 45837-40 mss on Suggestions for Thought
  • BL14GEN: Add Mss 45841-45, notes and drafts, Devotional Authors
  • BL15MISC: Add Mss 45846-49, diaries and notebooks; 46123A, 46123B, 46152, 46176, 46385, 46839, 46865 miscellaneous correspondence
  • BL16HBC1: Add Mss 47714-21, correspondence with Henry Bonham Carter Part 1 1861-89
  • BL17HBC2: Add Mss 47722-28, correspondence with Henry Bonham Carter Part 2 1889-1902
  • BL18NUR1: Add Mss 47729-47759 correspondence on nursing, Part 1
  • BL19NUR2: Add Mss 47760-58, 49623, correspondence on nursing, Part 2
  • BL20GEN: Add Mss 50036, 50134, 50210, 51277, 51278 India; 49977O, 52427, 56105F, 59786, 61991, 63520 miscellaneous; 68882-90, 72832, correspondence with F.W. and Maude Verney
  • BL21IND: BL Indian material, Add Mss 45831 and 45836, drafts of Indian material, correspondence 50036, 50134, 50210, 51277, 51278, 447pp.
  • BLAsia: Asia, Pacific and Africa collections, formerly O.I.O.C., Mss.Eur. B. and Marquess of Salisbury Collection
  • UKCO: U.K. County Record Offices, mainly Wiltshire, Liverpool, Derby Collection, Liverpool; Derbyshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Leicestershire, West Yorkshire
  • UKWellc1: Wellcome files 8991-3, childhood to youth (pre-Crimea), 1827-53
  • UKWellc2: Wellcome files 8994-6, Crimean War, 1853-56
  • UKWellc3: Wellcome files 8997-9001, post-Crimea work 1856-65
  • UKWellc4: Wellcome files 9002-4 1864-70
  • UKWellc5: Wellcome files 9005-7 1871-79
  • UKWellc6: Wellcome files 9008-11 1880-87
  • UKWellc7: Wellcome files 9012-14 1888-94
  • UKWellc8: Wellcome files 9015-17 1895-, plus (early) letters from Rome and Egypt
  • UKWellc9: Wellcome files 9015-17 1895-, plus (early) letters from Rome and Egypt
  • UKWILT: Wiltshire County Record Office, paper copies, in order as provided by the archive: 2057/F4/65, /66, /67, /68, 498pp.
  • UKWRAMC: Letters of the Royal Army Medical Corps, housed at the Wellcome Library
  • UKLMA1: London Metropolitan Archives, Florence Nightingale Museum, St Thomas’ Hospital 1, microfilm, 1006pp.
  • UKLMA2: London Metropolitan Archives (Florence Nightingale Museum), St Thomas’s Hospital, microfilm, rolls 3 and 4, 667pp.
  • UKOXF: Oxford archives, mainly Bodleian and Balliol College
  • UKScot: Archives in Scotland, mainly National Library of Scotland, Royal College of Nursing, Edinburgh, National Archives of Scotland (formerly Scottish Record Office), and Edinburgh University
  • UKOTH: other UK archives, mainly Royal Archives, Windsor Castle; Claydon House (other than copies at the Wellcome); Wantage Papers (Red Cross Archive); Convent of Mercy (Bermondsey, Birmingham and Kinsale); National Archives, Kew; University College, London;
  • UKOTH1: UK and Irish Archives other than the British Library, Wellcome, LMA, county record offices, Scotland and Oxford, 1348pp.
  • UKOTH2: Liverpool Record Office, paper copies, handwritten, some with typed copies, some typed copies with no handwritten original, indicated, 341pp.
  • USA1: Eastern U.S. archives, mainly Boston University, Columbia University, Harvard Countway Medical Library,
  • USA2: Other U.S. archives, mainly University of Illinois, Chicago; University of Alabama at Birmingham; Emory University; Duke University, Library of Congress, Johns Hopkins University; Clendening History of Medicine Library, University of Kansas; Wayne State University; University of California, San Francisco; International Museum of Surgical Science, Chicago;
  • USA3: Transcriptions from all archives in Boston: Boston College, 6 letters; Boston University, all items not otherwise noted; Waltham Training School for Nurses, 2 letters; Harvard University, Houghton Library (Harvard H); Harvard University, Countway Medical Library (Harvard C); Radcliffe College, 5 letters; Harvard University, Pusey Library, 1 letter. 614pp.
  • NEWSPAPE: Letters and short articles by Nightingale published in newspapers: The Times, Daily News, The Lancet, Leeds Mercury, Daily Mercury, Social Notes, arranged chronologically by date of publication
  • Times letters and mentions
  • ROW: Archives of the rest of the world, Canadian, European, Australian, African and Asian
  • PUBLETT: Nightingale letters published in books and journals (not available in archival sources)
  • SHORTPAP: Short papers by Nightingale; see INDPAPER for those on India
  • INDPAPER: Nightingale’s short papers on India
  • BYFN: Nightingale letters published in books and journals (not available in archival sources)
  • ONFN: Secondary sources on Florence Nightingale,

For further background on accessing archives and transcriptions, see Appendix E: Research Methods and Sources, in vol 1 of the Collected Works, Florence Nightingale: Life and Family.

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